In the mid-20th-century this panel was in Torre de Luzea (Guipúzcoa). In 1987 Díaz Padrón attributed it to the Master of Zamora, relating it to the work of the Master of Astorga and pointing out the influence of Juan de Flandes and of Juan de Borgoña the Elder. The past few years have seen the publication of previously unpublished works by Juan de Borgoña the Younger and Lorenzo de Ávila as well as new documentation on these artists. Both were active in Toro shortly after 1530 following their collaboration with Juan de Borgoña de Elder, but the style of their works is not comparable to that of the present panel. The artist therefore remains unidentified but should be placed within the context of Toledo.
The arrangement of the spatial depth and the compositional balance between the figures of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the animals’ heads, and the architecture and landscape all derive from Juan de Borgoña (documented in Toledo from 1495 until his death). Also deriving from his work is the iconography of the naked Christ Child on the cloth placed on the pedestal of stone blocks, the adoring figures of Mary and Joseph, the angel appearing to the shepherds in the background and the two shepherds arriving at the stable, as recounted in the Gospels (Luke 2, 8-16). The geometrical flooring and the pillars with their large frieze are elements to be found in panels by Borgoña and the early work of his most important pupil, Juan Correa de Vivar (Mascaraque, ca.1510-Toledo, 1566). The overall clarity and chromatic simplicity are emphasised by the contrast created by the shot-silk effect of the cloak and the colour of the Virgin’s robe, both elements indicative of an evolution towards a style characteristic of the second third of the 16th century, as is the elongation of the kneeling forms.